A More Thinking than Action Kind of Day

Wednesday June 24th 2020

The temperature crossed the century mark again today. Unlike yesterday the clouds and wind arrived too late in the day to keep the temperature down. Most of the day was blue sky and a very light breeze. A little after four the wind picked up and the clouds moved through the area. Once the sun was down the clouds and wind went away.

I spent a good portion of the day exploring travel options for the next couple of months. With the rise of Covid-19 cases I want to have options. While I don’t think states will close things down and reinstate a stay at home order, it remains a possibility. Far more likely is forced quarantine based on where you are coming from. Unfortunately my license plates indicate I’m from Florida the media labeled “new epicenter”. Never mind I haven’t been there in over a year. I have been in Arizona for the last four months which is also pretty bad for the virus. I’m closely monitoring the states along my travel route for changes in their Covid-19 response.

I’m looking forward to seeing some new territory. I will be traveling through eastern New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma. These are all new areas of travel. I just want to continue my rambling road trip under the radar. I don’t want to cross the arbitrary lines the public health and state governments impose. They have no way of knowing how isolated my Rambling Road Trip is as compared with a random family summer vacation.

Lethargy in the Heat

Tuesday June 23rd 2020

The temperature didn’t quite make it to the century mark today. It was well on its way when just at the hottest part of the day a few stray clouds and lots of wind arrived. The temperature peaked around ninety eight or nine degrees.

The heat has produced a heightened level of lethargy in me. Once again today I did a lot of reading and TV watching around one early walk around the camping loops and another as the sun crossed the western horizon. Most of the sites at this campground get occupied by overnight visitors. Other than the camp hosts, I’m the longest resident of the park. Consequently, the sights I see on my morning walk are different from my evening walk. Tonight there are three other RVs with Florida plates in the park. We may have the local Arizona residents out numbered.

Another change since I got here are the wildflowers. When I arrived last week there were lots of little bits of color scattered around the desert. As the week went by many of the blossoms started to die out. On today’s walk I couldn’t find any open blossoms. Even the tiny ones that were visible yesterday weren’t around today. This is the start of the height of the Arizona heat. Monsoon season started last week, but it doesn’t usually start dropping tons of rain until next month.

One of the disadvantage of having the TV on all day is the ever increasing number of political ads. Arizona is considered a battleground state for control of the Senate and for President. The competitors for the senate seat have had dueling ads since I arrived in the state at the end of March. Every week the rhetoric gets worse. Now dueling presidential ads have started. I can’t wait to get out of the state. I don’t think I’ll be in another battleground state until I get back to Florida in the fall. The ads for both sides just piss me off.

Triple Digit Temperatures are Back

Monday June 22nd 2020

The triple digit temperatures are back. The temperature reached 100 degrees today. I’d hoped that the higher altitude would keep this area out of the triple digits. It is still quite a few degrees cooler than the Phoenix area and there is more wind in this open area. The wind really has a cooling impact.

I got a little bit of exercise with a short hike in the park before it got too hot. Most of my day was spent in my RV home reading and watching TV. The thought of the triple digit temperature is demotivating. Overall it was a good lazy day. Here are some wildflower pictures from my early walk.

Committing to an East Bound Travel Plan

Sunday June 21st 2020

The temperature is climbing a few degrees everyday. Today was about six degrees warmer than Saturday. It peaked in the upper half of the nineties. The bad news is the wind was missing in action most of the day. As the sun was setting a bit of a breeze developed to start the overnight cooling. Tomorrow is forecast to be warmer and the wind should be a little stronger.

It is now officially summer. In my mind it has been summer since April when the temperature routinely reached the nineties followed by triple digits in May. The desert southwest of the United States is not where I want to be in the summer. The pandemic has slowed my pace of travel down so I’m not in the northern slightly cooler conditions. As the saying goes at least it’s a dry heat. The humid heat of the south from Texas east is even worse. Fall can’t come too soon.

I took a drive into downtown Winslow AZ this afternoon in search of some Route 66 historical attractions or the Eagles “standing on a corner …” song commemorative location. I should have done an internet search first instead of after I got back to my RV home. I didn’t find any Route 66 stuff, and must have driven by the corner associated with the song. I’ll try again another day.

Back at my RV home later in the afternoon, I made a couple of the more critical reservations for my trip east. I’ve booked a campsite on the east side of the Continental Divide in New Mexico for the week after I leave here. It includes the Fourth of July holiday. I also booked a two week stay on the Arkansas River near Little Rock at a campground I stayed at in 2018. I have a general plan that gets back to Florida in September. To remain a little flexible, I’ll make most of my three and four night reservations closer to the date of stay.

Tonight’s sunset.

Do Nothing Saturday

Saturday June 20th 2020

The temperature climbed a few degrees today and the wind calmed a few miles per hour. Today’s peak temperature was in the low nineties, will little to no wind. It was comfortable in the shade and dangerous in the sun.

I would best describe today as a do nothing kind of day. While I did accomplish a few things, I primarily watched some TV and read. Tomorrow is another day.

A Travel Planning Day

Friday June 19th 2020

The slightly unseasonable cool spell continued today. The temperature peaked around 90 degrees and the wind was almost calm. Late in the day a few clouds dotted the blue sky making a very pretty sunset.

I spent a little time today exploring more of the Homolovi State Park, but most of my time was spent in front of the computer. I’m back in full scale travel planning mode. I worked out a rough plan that gets me to Mississippi River by the first part of August. It involves stays of three or four days every one to two hundred miles with a couple of longer stays in areas with interesting and safe things to do. I would like to spend more time in some areas, but the attractions are mostly indoor museum type places. Given the current pandemic conditions I’m focusing on outdoor attractions and nature.

Once I reach the Mississippi River in the Memphis area, I could turn south toward Vicksburg Mississippi or continue east across Tennessee. The southerly route doesn’t currently have any definition beyond Vicksburg and it puts me along the Gulf coast during hurricane season. The easterly route probably turns south after a visit to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. To make the decision I really need to determine where I will be for the Labor Day Holiday weekend. The holiday weekend is probably already booked at the popular places.

I’ve set a goal to have my route back to Florida figured out by the end of the weekend. I’d also like to have the key stops booked and the rest of my original reservations in Wyoming and Colorado canceled.

I like it so much I’m including it twice.

A Nothing Special Kind of Day

Thursday June 18th 2020

The weather was beautiful today. The temperature was below normal for the season peaking around 90 degrees. Even the wind cooperated with only occasional strong winds.

This was a day in the life type of day. I didn’t do anything specific, but the day went be quickly. It certainly wasn’t a blog entry worthy day.

Southern horizon at sunset. The low band between the land and sky is the smoke from the forest fire.

As the weekend approaches the campground is getting a little more business. Each night this week there have been about fifteen to twenty sites occupied. Most are only here for a single night. On my walk around the park this evening there are more occupied sites. Some of them look like they’re here for more than a single night.

A Hike at the Homolovi State Park

Wednesday June 17th 2020

The wind wasn’t quite as dominant a force today. At times it was very strong, but at other times it was almost calm. The temperature reached the low nineties under a clear blue sky.

This state park preserves the remnants of four villages of the ancestors of the Hopi people. The small farming communities in the Little Colorado River flood plan were occupied from around 1260 to 1400AD. Unfortunately they been vandalized a lot over the years.

Today’s big activity was a hike to the first village known as Homolovi I. It is located along the Little Colorado River about a mile and a half from my campsite. I hiked down along the access road. There isn’t a trail from the campground. Most of the wildflower blossoms along the road are gone now, but I found a few colorful bushes to take pictures.

I didn’t find the remains of the village very interesting. The existence of the village site is interesting. Thinking about what life might have been like for the residents of the village is interesting. I just found the piles of rocks that represent the ruins to be uninteresting. It takes a lot of imagination to connect the rock piles and occasional piece of a structure with an actual village. Picture taking at the village site was not allowed out of respect for the Hopi peoples heritage.

The Little Colorado River is not much of a river at this time of year. It is wide depressed area of the desert like many of the rivers in this area. On the plus side, there is actual water in the Little Colorado River. It is in small muddy narrow channels. Near the ruins there is actually a sign warning about Quick Sand. Monsoon season began last Monday, so there is likely to be more water flowing in the river sometime this summer.

Getting Settled and a Little Grocery Shopping

Tuesday June 16th 2020

The wind kept the temperature today, but walking and driving were a challenge. By eight this morning the wind was building from the southwest. As the day went on it continued to get stronger until night fall. Once the sun passed the horizon the wind seem to disappear with it. Hopefully it doesn’t come back as strong tomorrow.

Blossom of the day.

I got the last couple of camp setup tasks completed this morning. The bike is off the car and the rack is safely stored under my RV home. My Honda CR-V is now in touring mode. First up was a run to the local Walmart for groceries.

Walmart is my store of choice for two reasons. The primary reason is they are all over the place with a fairly consistent layout. The second reason is the prices are OK without the need to have a frequent shopper card. Today I visited a medium sized Walmart that broke the consistent layout advantage. Possibly because of limited space products were often found on aisle caps or in other featured display areas. Instead of being able to get in and quickly get what I needed, I found myself going up and down aisles and generally wandering around the store.

This Walmart was taking “social distancing” a little more seriously than the last two I’ve visited since the start of the pandemic. At the entrance a pair of greeters were wiping down carts and only allowing one customer group at a time to enter and pick up a cart. Only after the party enters the store could the next customer pickup a cart. They also reminded everybody about keeping your distance from other customers. The majority of customers were wearing masks, but they still didn’t follow the one way arrows.

I don’t consider Walmart a high risk of infection type place, but it is one of the riskiest places I’m likely to visit. I’m not going to areas with big crowds, restaurants or bars. Whenever possible I’m not visiting indoor places at all. I’m viewing Walmart as a microcosm of the local area. This area seems to be more virus aware than others. The fact that it is located on the edge of the Navajo Indian Nation that has suffered heavily from the virus is probably the reason.

Smoke on the southern horizon.

Again this evening the smoke from the forest fire in the Tonto National Forest was visible on the southern horizon. The smoke is probably thirty miles away and the wind is carrying it more westerly toward New Mexico. The actual fire is much closer to Phoenix than here. I’d guess it is about 100 miles south and a little west of here. The fire called the Bush fire is currently the largest forest fire in the country and is zero percent contained at this time.

Travel Day to Winslow Arizona

Monday June 15th 2020

After a week in Holbrook AZ, today was moving day. I relocated to the Homolovi State Park outside Winslow AZ. This park is actually thirty five miles in the wrong direction. When I made the reservation New Mexico was just beginning to open up. I chose to spend an additional two weeks in an Arizona State Park.

I departed the Holbrook KOA just before the 11AM checkout time. The wind heading west on Interstate 40 was very strong out of the southwest. It is a good thing I only had a short distance to travel. Wind hitting either of the front corners of the RV is a real fight with the steering wheel. I went an extra exit west into Winslow to top off the gas tank. It was primarily to kill time, but it will save me a fuel stop when I leave. I got to the Homolovi State Park before the noon checkout time. Luckily my site was available.

Site 52 at the Homolovi State Park.

The campground is located in open high desert land near the Little Colorado River. Very few of the little more than fifty sites are occupied. My site is on higher ground with a couple of little shade trees and view for miles. The wind blew very strong all afternoon. Toward evening a dust cloud or possible smoke from the forest fires in the Tonto National Forest to the south was visible off to the southeast. This is going to be an interesting location for the next two weeks. I expect lots of sun and lots of wind.

Side view of my RV home at the Homolovi State Park campground.